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Interviews : “…the newer released album is actually older than the one before it.” – an interview with Quiet Child

By on August 19, 2013

Excuse us while we remove out metal hats for a moment, and delve into the world of progressive rock. A few months ago the Adelaide band released their new album The Coming Storm (which is absolutely superb). Even though, as you’ll find out below, isn’t actually their newest material. Anyway, here’s a bunch of questions that we asked vocalist & guitarist Peter Spiker.

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How would you define the essence of Quiet Child – what it is, and what it means to you?

Quiet Child is my only creative outlet, so it has a great importance as far as expressing myself goes. It’s also a lot of fun; many good memories! Not sure how to describe its ‘essence’ though…

What’s the most beautiful sound you’ve ever heard?

Hard question! Musically speaking, hearing albums like ‘Mellon Collie’ and ‘OK Computer’ for the first time were certainly beautiful experiences… Non-musically I like sounds that occur naturally and randomly. Waves crashing, rain on the roof etc…

Your latest album, The Coming Storm, explores relationships. Do you set out to write albums around a particular theme or have different folders on different themes and wait until they are full? Or something else?

Things changed a bit with The Coming Storm and our next album, Chapter & Verse. Previously, our albums sort of took their meaning as the writing progressed, and I always felt as though I was kind of bullshitting my way into giving the albums a grander meaning. The Coming Storm, on the other hand, was planned to be a cohesive, linear story from the get-go, and doing an album this way was much better for me, especially lyrically. I’m definitely planning on doing a similar thing for whatever comes after Chapter & Verse.

For relatively long songs, the lyrics themselves in each song are not that expansive, as if their role is to paint an environment while the other elements of the song create the narrative and character. Am I talking shit, and either way can you tell us about how you see the elements of your songs interacting?

The interaction between lyrics and music is at times very closely intertwined. For example, the classical piano break in ‘Conditions’ is meant to signify a breather inbetween two fights. One of our songs off of ‘Thumper,’ called ‘The Cold Halls’ has very specific instrumental parts that are meant to signify various stages of decline and death… goddamn depressing now that I think about it!

You’ve used a vast range of instrumentation and sounds in the album – more so that with Thumper. How do you build the layers and the details of the songs?Do you experiment more within or outside the song writing process?

The Coming Storm was different in this regard as well. This is the first album recorded and mixed at home, with a lot of new tools to play with. For the first time I was writing songs with a computer in front of me, instantly recording ideas, whereas in the past the songs were written in my head completely before the band learned them. This meant that I could layer counter melodies etc. over the songs much more easily. It resulted in more lead melodies being played on an instrument, instead of being sung. This also contributed to slightly less lyrics, I think.

Is the intro to “Dawn Brings Warmth” created by banging around inside an open piano?

Ha! No, it’s a piano and a dulcimer drenched in reverb to a silly amount. Every time I pressed stop while mixing, those stupid notes would just echo out into infinity…

Have you got any happy songs?

Ha, again! Sure, plenty! The Coming Storm is particularly sad, but there are moments of happiness. ‘Without Borders’ comes to mind… Our next album has a more even ratio of happiness to sadness.

Progressive, alternative rock is not huge in Australia. Do you have dreams of reaching a much broader audience, or are you at ease, at peace, with where Quiet Child is at the moment?

At a younger age I, like so many other young musicians, wanted Quiet Child to be this hugely successful group… Now I find myself a lot more realistic and content with artistic achievement. I think my more mature goal for QC is to be able to do it full time, instead of working in aged care to get by!

How often do you play live?

It feels like we rarely play live, but I suppose we are still training up our new drummer, Ryan. We never were the most regular of live performers though.

What’s the best thing someone has said to you after playing a live set?

After the shows we played with Opeth, their keyboardist (whose name I never could work out, even when he said it to my face 5 times in a row,) seemed to genuinely enjoy our songs and performance, and he was quite specific about what he liked within each song. Hearing positive feedback from musicians of that calibre is hard to even process when it’s happening.

What’s one of your high points so far?

Aside from the Opeth shows, I truly think ‘The Coming Storm’ is our high point. It really seems to be a big improvement over earlier albums.

When might we see your anticipated album Chapter & Verse?

Ok, here’s something we haven’t actually mentioned until now, but to explain what’s going on with Storm and Chapter I’ll need to mention it. The only player on The Coming Storm is me (Pete). Chapter & Verse was already written and partially recorded before Storm was even a twinkle in my eye. It was clear, however, that Chapter & Verse was going to take while to finish. It’s 100 minutes long, harder to play and generally much more intricate. It also has all 4 members on it! I had just purchased my new recording tools, and wanted to play with them… I also owed the other members of QC some money for covering the significant travel expenses of the Opeth tour.

So I decided to quickly knock together a smaller, simpler album, with the intention of making some quick bucks to pay the boys back! It became clear fairly quickly that The Coming Storm was actually better than it’s planned, ‘minor’ status, and so instead of being a small project, it became the focus of my time, and Chapter & Verse got pushed back by about 8 months. So it’s an Abbey Road/ Let It Be situation, where the newer released album is actually older than the one before it.

If you were an animal, what would you like to be? What would you actually be?

I think Sloth is the answer to both questions. I don’t mind being a lazy sack of crap that plays computer games all day. Ever seen a sloth play computer games? If I ever turn into one, you’ll see it.

You can stream and purchase The Coming Storm over on Bandcamp.

About

A relatively recent convert to more extreme metal (not exclusively), I've always preferred non-commercial and progressive music to mainstream. I grew up in Adelaide, South Australia, where in my youth I lived for every new Greasy Pop Records release. I also write for ech(((o)))es & dust and ThisIsNotAScene but it's good to start contributing to an Australian metal site.